There’s been a lot of talk about companies, hosting companies specifically, buying up plugins. With all the consolidation, people have started wondering, out loud, if a solo developer can still exist in the WordPress ecosystem of today.
They note that there’s no formal method for such a solo developer to monetize their efforts. And how can they compete with the large teams that offer a premium plugin for just about every need.
I don’t know if it was planned or just lucky. But what I know is that back at the very beginning of this project, WordPress was delivered to people with two plugins – Hello Dolly and Akismet.
Everyone said that Hello Dolly was there to teach people how to build their own plugins. I have said, for more than a decade, that plug-in developers should have been looking at Akismet.
It shows developers how to build a service-based solution. It shows developers how to make a product free for personal use and monetize commercial sites. It shows developers how to built single-feature utility plugins and make money.
This whole time it has been sitting there waving at us. And we’ve ignored it.
Can a solo developer still make it? Without joining a host?
I think so.
But I don’t think it will come as a patreon-like sponsorship model. I think free plugins will continue to be developed. I think developers will continue to create plugins that scratch their own itch. And I think some plugins will chance their way into massive success without a strategy.
But if I were to chat with a solo developer today, I’d point them to Akismet and show them that they don’t need sponsors. They don’t need to worry about hosting companies. But they need to think about a monetization strategy from the start.
What do you think? Hit reply to the email, or find me on Twitter and let me know.